The US Export-Import Bank (Exim) recently met with the Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC) to discuss potential financing cooperation for the development of Al-Maktoum International airport in Dubai South.

Exim said it can offer competitive financing for specific segments of the planned mega-expansion project such as the baggage handling, cooling and sustainable landscaping packages, a source familiar with the project said.

The source said Exim was willing to extend financing terms comparable to those offered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), whose investment institutions offer financing within an agreed range and parameters.

“Exim Bank expressed strong interest in financing projects for Dubai… that may use US-made goods and services,” the source said.

The bank is the latest in a string of funds and export credit agencies (ECAs) to have discussed funding options with the DACC. The DACC is understood to have been in discussions with UK and Italian credit agencies over the past year.

In October 2015, Italian export credit agency Sace signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the DACC to provide €1bn ($1.14bn) of credit for the Dubai South development.

The expansion of Al-Maktoum airport, which will serve as the centrepiece of the under-construction Dubai South aetropolis, has a budget estimated at $33bn.

Project client Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) received bids for an enabling works contract for the project in March.

The ambitious upgrade to the airport will make it the biggest in the world by 2050, with the capacity to handle 255 million passengers a year. The planned construction work includes the new terminal building, six nodes or concourses connected to the terminal by people-movers, and new runways.

Besides providing trade finance for the expansion of major airlines such as Dubai’s Emirates airline, Exim Bank has been involved in financing Saudi Arabia’s Sadara Petrochem project and the Emirates Aluminum Projects. Exim’s exposure to the UAE accounts for roughly a third of its overall exposure to the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The bank was re-authorised to operate by the US senate in December 2015 following the expiry of its licence in July 2015. 

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